There’s no denying it; living in Los Angeles is expensive. According to Zillow, the average home value in L.A. sits around $1 million.
And yet, millions of people call L.A. home, which means millions of people find a way to make it work. While a six-figure income makes a big difference, not everyone earns that kind of money. For the rest, it comes down to saving money and reducing the cost of living as much as possible.
The good news is that almost anyone can utilize these methods to afford to live in L.A. The following are six suggestions worth considering:
Buy in bulk
The simplest way to save money is to buy in bulk. It costs more upfront but less in the long run. Examples include bulk toilet paper, toothpaste, trash bags, laundry detergent, coffee, batteries, school supplies, soap, and lightbulbs. Certain foods can also be bought in bulk, like butter, coffee, cereal, rice, and pasta. When buying items in bulk to save money, the hardest part will be keeping them safely stored. To prevent melting, products like butter and soap must be kept in cool environments. Foods should be kept in sealed containers to prevent spoilage as well as to keep insects and other critters from gaining access.
Work from home
Not everyone has the option to work from home. But those who do should consider it in order to save money. Working from home leads to significant savings over time, from the fuel consumed during your daily commute to the overpriced meals you buy on your lunch break. While your electric bill might go up a little due to increased usage, the uptick will still be less than what you’re spending by going to the office five days a week.
Stick to small towns and suburbs
The Greater Los Angeles region encompasses a vast area stretching from Ventura County to the north down to Orange County to the south. While properties are still pricey, the values drop the farther you get from the major population centers. With this in mind, those looking to save money living in L.A. should consider relocating to one of the further parts of the region. Baldwin Park, Carson, Cudahy, Pomona, and Santa Fe Springs are just some of the more affordable places to live in the outer reaches of Greater Los Angeles.
Rent instead of buy
It sounds counterintuitive, but renting instead of buying might be the best way to save money living in Los Angeles. That’s because you’re not responsible for major repairs and property taxes. It comes down to your future plans; if you’re determined to live in L.A. for the long haul, buying a home is the better option. But if you’re unsure what the future holds and don’t like the idea of spending the money needed to keep up with maintenance and taxes, then renting is the right choice.
Live with roommates
The go-to option for saving money living in Los Angeles is to live with roommates. It’s not the most desirable living arrangement for those over the age of 25, but necessary in order to split the cost of rent, which can exceed $2500 a month, depending on the neighborhood.
Find free things to do for fun
The great weather and diverse geography of the Greater Los Angeles region mean there’s a lot to see and do outdoors. Most of these outdoor activities are free. For example, several beautiful public beaches along the coast are magnets for surfers, swimmers, and those who just want to lay down in the sand to soak up some sun. The mountains to the northeast are ideal for hiking, mountain biking, and skiing. While the cost of equipment for outdoor activities can be high, it’s a one-time purchase that enables you to enjoy the free things to do in L.A.
Living in Southern California isn’t cheap, especially the closer you get to major cities like Los Angeles. However, millions of people manage to do so every year. For some, it’s because they earn enough money to cover the high cost of living. But for others, it comes down to savvy spending strategies and other ways to stretch their dollars.
Julie Steinbeck is a freelance writer from Florida. She enjoys covering topics related to business, finance, and travel.